State of Spanish Footwear

Spain is stepping out to strut its fashion prowess – and that takes form in a favored footwear assortment showcased at NYFW and in Europe at key trade shows, such as WHITE Milano and MICAM Milano.

Spain Fashion promotes top talent from the nation’s footwear industry has already proven to play an influential role in the segment: Spain is the second largest footwear producer and exporter country in the European Union and is renowned for its high-quality designer footwear present in over 140 countries worldwide.

Here, Pablo Conde, Spanish fashion director of ICEX (Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade), talks to Fairchild Studio about its participation at NYFW, upcoming European trade shows, and growth and influence of Spanish fashion in the U.S. and abroad.

Fairchild Studio: Let’s discuss the growing presence of Spanish brands at NYFW. What can you tell us about the selection of Spanish brands at Coterie and MAGIC New York?

Pablo Conde: The U.S. is one of the biggest markets for Spain Fashion. For the Spanish footwear industry, it is the fourth largest export destination and for the clothing sector before the pandemic it was the seventh largest market, and now it is the ninth.

Despite the difficulties in exhibiting and traveling, Spanish companies want to be present at NYFW through their representatives or distributors. This is a huge effort for the companies and reflects the interest they have in this market. New York is still one of the world’s fashion capitals from where trends are prescribed to the rest of the world.

The Spanish brands that will be exhibiting in New York are very competitive companies, with a high-quality, designer product that fits very well with the New York market. All of them have a very distinct entity and a very differentiated product. Companies such as TBA, Aldomartins, Lola Cruz, Charo Ruiz, Paloma Barceló, Chie Mihara, Hommers Pretty Ballerinas, Vilagallo, Wonders or Tinta Style present very new and different collections.

Fairchild Studio: The FashionLAB Market event is another venue where the presence of Spanish brands has steadily increased. What can show goers expect to see this year regarding product and/or trends?

P.C.: In the Fashionlab market at White Space Chelsea, 555 West 25th Street, fourteen Spanish companies will exhibit the upcoming spring-summer 2021 season. The exhibition is very representative of the spirit of Spanish fashion, very bright and with a Mediterranean character.

On this occasion, it is worth mentioning the involvement with sustainability and care for the environment for many of our brands that are committed to slow fashion and respect for the environment, such as Limo Concept, Ball Pages, Elemental Knit or Genyum. Visitors will also find brands with a lot of character and design such as Clodesign and Chie Mihara, or with an important technological component such as Camper.

In addition, we have all kinds of companies, both women’s clothing, footwear, and other accessories. It is an appointment that the professional who is in New York should not miss. In addition, this year in October, for the first time, the showroom will also be present in Los Angeles.

Fairchild Studio: Would you elaborate on Spanish fashion at the White Milano show in Milano? What is differentiated about this show experience?

P.C.: I think the main difference is the fact that the pandemic has disrupted and changed the evolution of the fairs. We are expecting fewer international visitors this time. In any case, Italy is a fundamental market for us since it is the second destination market for our exports.

Italian professionals value and understand better than anyone the quality of the Spanish product and its competitiveness, so even if the next edition reduces the number of visitors, for the Spanish industry the Italian market is important enough for us to be present.

Fairchild Studio: MICAM Milano is another major event for the footwear industry that will highlight Spanish brands. What is unique about the Spanish brands that will be debuting summer collections at this event?

P.C.: Indeed, MICAM Milano is the major international footwear event. We understand that on this occasion there will also be a lower number of international visitors, especially from Asian and American countries. However, the Spanish footwear industry has thrown itself into the event. More than 80 brands will be exhibiting at the trade show, and they will do so with great enthusiasm after so many months without physical contact with professionals, hoping to reconnect with the Italian and international public.

The main feature of a Spanish presence in Milan is that the offer is very broad, covering all types of footwear, from the most sophisticated women’s footwear to a more sportive look and feel, including espadrilles, men’s dress shoes, casual footwear, etc. Our product is evolving through greater use of sustainable and biodegradable materials, which visitors will be able to see for themselves.

Fairchild Studio: What’s next for ICEX and its mission to promote Spanish brands in the footwear space?

P.C.: We believe that participation in events and tradeshows in the upcoming months will still be limited. It seems more likely that within Europe that we will be able to continue traveling, but in the Asian and American markets, the restrictions will continue, so it will be necessary to keep promoting the presence of the brands through online platforms and channels. We are currently holding an on-line event called Passport to Spain Fashion with the JOOR platform, in which more than 40 Spanish companies are participating.

We believe that the pandemic has also helped us all to reflect and become more aware of the products we consume and the values of those products, and in this context, we have noticed that the market is giving more and more importance to many of the values of our industry, handcrafted and Mediterranean products, which increasingly use sustainable materials and fabrics – with a high component of design and creativity.

Follow @thisisspainfashion for the latest updates on Spanish footwear events and trends.

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